Zachary and his mother taking a stroll through Canopy Park at Jewel
It takes a village: The Changi Airport Community
From February to August 2022, Zachary and three of his schoolmates underwent training at the Changi Airport nursery and acquired horticultural skills in the care and management of plants.
Jewel Changi Airport Development facilitated opportunities for TEHC to understand the diverse profile of the Metta School students, through a school visit and on-the-job observations and interactions with the students. TEHC later took in the four students in for a two-week job attachment at Jewel, where the youths learnt to tend to indoor plants. After the job attachment, Zachary was offered a job.
Kelvin Tan, Head, User Experience at Jewel Changi Airport Development, shared, “Having volunteered and taken the time to understand the capabilities of youths with special needs, we extended an invitation to TEHC to partner us on this journey. TEHC subsequently went on to offer work experiences for these youths. For this two-week OJT in Jewel, it was a many-hands approach. TEHC, our landscaping colleagues from Jewel and CAG, as well as Metta School teachers invested in training the youths. It all came together nicely; a momentum was established, and I was encouraged to see the students adapting well. When TEHC extended employment offers to the students, it came as both a humbling and energising realisation for me that we can unlock potential for youths with special needs if we choose to believe in them.”
Zachary’s mother, Joyce, summed it up nicely, “Every kid is a gift. They have the potential to go beyond where they are. So, give them a chance, because they deserve it.”
Over the years, the airport community has come together to provide youths different learning opportunities including the platform of experiencing operational work environments. Airport partners from hospitality, F&B, retail, security and even facilities management curated on-job-training programmes for disadvantaged youths.
These collaborations go way back. One of the longest participating partners is Swensen’s, who has collaborated with Changi Foundation since 2014, and has provided graduating NorthLight students with a five-day job attachment in their restaurants.